The famous pirate of History of Piracy.


A brief history of piracy.

Piracy became the main occupation for some beginning in ancient Greece and Rome, around 500 B.C. These early pirates sailed mainly the Mediterranean Sea in ships that were much smaller than the traditionally thought of pirate ships. These small boats, called triremes, had a shallow bottom and were very quick, providing them with the capability to work around the smaller bays where large ships could not enter easily.

These pirates also weren’t what one would typically think of when thinking of more modern pirates. They called themselves corsairs and the group was comprised mainly of Muslims who attacked mostly Christian ships. Instead of attacking ships for valuables found onboard, they actually wanted the people on the ships. The people that they captured were usually very rich and they would be held for ransom. Those that were captured but not very wealthy had a different fate. They would be taken as slaves and would be forced to work around the pirate’s ship. The pirates would use a ram on the front of their ship to attack other ships. They would crash into a ship with these rams and those called janissaries would climb onto the ship that was being attacked. The other weapons they used included cannons, swords that were generally curved, muskets, and daggers.

There were also pirates that sailed in Northern Europe that called themselves Vikings or Norse Riders. They journeyed along the North Sea so they could attack British ships with two-edged swords and axes. The Vikings travelled in long ships that were also very quick and they had a flat bottom so they could sail upriver. The Vikings and the corsairs both made up the very beginning of piracy.

When the New World was discovered, pirates began to make their way to the Caribbean Sea, especially to an area within the sea called the Spanish Main. It was here that a small, rocky island of Tortuga lay. This is where pirates built a fort that was heavily guarded with twenty-four sea facing cannons. No one bothered with the pirates much but the pirates attacked the merchant ships travelling in the waters very aggressively for the treasure that they had onboard. Because these ships were very large and slow, it was very easy for pirates to attack them.

Port Royal was a port that was owned by the British but became another place for pirates to gather. Because the port was mostly comprised of pirates, runaway slaves, drunkards, and thieves, the British didn’t bother the port too much. This harbor was also overseen by a pirate fort and the pirates used the docks as a hangout and a place where they could exchange their stolen treasure. In 1692, a huge earthquake demolished Port Royal and many of the pirates believed this was God serving punishment for the unlawful lives they lived.

The Europeans then began to tire of the pirates. They wanted to get rid of them and it was also around that time that steamships were being built. Steamships were much stronger and faster than the other ships the navies had been using and so it was easier to capture pirates. Although once the pirates had the better ships, it was now the government that had the stronger vessels. To add further incentive, large rewards were also given in exchange for the capture of a pirate.

If a pirate became captured, they would either be given a pardon or be sent to a British prison. Those that were given pardons were usually the young pirates who had to agree to give up the life of being a pirate and begin to live a lawful life. Those that were sent to prison would suffer a terrible end. If they made it as far as the Newgate Prison in England, they would often die there due to the filth and disease that ran rampant. Although many pirates wouldn’t even make it to the prison. After being sentenced, they were generally taken to the closest American port to be executed.

When they were sent to trial, the judges would often sentence them very quickly so they could make an example of the captured pirate to other pirates who were still attacking and plundering. The sentence the judge gave was mainly for the pirate to be hanged. Once the hanging had taken place, they would leave the body and wait for the tide to wash it away or the body would be placed in a metal cage.

Although piracy is much different today, it still exists. Modern-day pirates attack during the night by climbing onboard another ship using ropes. Within a few minutes they can steal all of the treasure on a ship. They also rely more on strategic planning rather than using violent force. Although they still use weapons, they are machine guns, automatic rifles, and speedboats rather than swords and axes.

History of Piracy.

 The famous pirate of History of Piracy.

Page Sponsored By: CD Burner Software